Circlage Surgical Evaluation Platform

UX Strategy | USEr Research | UX Design

Health Startup UX

Circlage is a web-based platform that evaluates surgical performance using AI.

It was part of the Johns Hopkins Hexcite program, a startup incubator for clinicians and health products. The founders, Dr. Shameema Sikder and Dr. Swaroop Vedula designed the AI and specifications for how the technology would work.

I was paired with them as a design lead in the fellowship program where I helped them flesh out the strategy and direction of the technology.

Later, they chose to work with my company to fully build out the design and develop the platform.

Project Details

Project Approach

In the first iterations of the startup, the founders named the platform Eyelearn, because it was focused on ophthalmology and cataract surgeries.


Customer discovery

The founders and I first spent several weeks interviewing potential audiences. We focused on these user types:

  • Residents
  • Attending Physicians


  1. Surgeons do not always feel capable of accurately assessing their own skills.
  2. Surgeons who want to improve will welcome objective assessment of their skills.
  3. The culture of an academic training may not welcome a change to the way surgeons are currently assessed.
  4. Surgeons that consistently use video as an aid to improving their skills feel more confident in their abilities.
  5. Video is used both before surgery to help in remembering how to approach the case as well as after to assess performance and skill.
  6. Residents crave feedback, and appreciate consistent feedback from attendings.
  7. Surgeons need feedback that is actionable so they can improve.

Customer discovery interviews continued as the founders continued calling hospitals and teaching facilities to interview potential users/buyers.


During the Hexcite program, we focused on the surgeon persona, thinking that as residents they would start using the platform and would continue to pay for and use the platform as they became more practiced. (This later was scrapped as a focus based on additional customer insights following the program.)


The founders and I had a direction and we needed to figure out what to build. I facilitated a feature prioritization session where we decided on the features to focus on first.

We decided to focus on a core flow that would allow the surgeon to:

  • see a dashboard of their results
  • upload a surgery video
  • Add comments and notes to the video based on timecodes
  • submit a video to be analyzed
  • view the received report


The results of our work were pitched to the Hexcite community, with our founder presenting our startup case. I also developed a platform demo:

EyeLearn Platform Demo – Watch Video

Our platform pitch came in second in the competition.

The founders liked working with me so much that they engaged Standard Beagle to continue working on the platform.

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Lessons Learned

My ah-ha moment came as I worked the early stages of the platform idea with the founders. The idea was strong, but exactly how the platform should be built was nebulous.

Only through the customer discovery process and interviews did it start to take shape.

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